The Met’s Costume Institute Gala has morphed into one of the year’s biggest celebrity fashion events, partly because the gala uses each year’s theme to inspire the fashion of its guests. We wrote about last year’s Met Gala (“China Through the Looking Glass”), here. While the theme did inspire some truly beautiful looks (think Rihanna’s yellow silk couture by Chinese designer Guo Pei), the exhibit itself was a hodgepodge of problematic Orientalism, dabbling in the same exoticization and fetishism that mark many designers’ relationships with the “mysterious East.”
This year, the Costume Institute turned to a new fashion frontier with its theme “Manus x Machina,” an exploration of the way that fashion and technology intersect. In the past, the line between high and low end fashion fell roughly along the handmade vs machine-made—think painstakingly hand-beaded couture gowns opposite factory-churned fast fashion. But this divide is no longer so clear. New technologies, culled from mass-production, enhance the creation of the most rareified designs (for example, the intersection of thermoplastic film and hand embroidery), forcing us to rethink the relationship between industry and what has traditionally, but perhaps not quite accurately, been classed as pure artistry and craft. Continue reading “Met Gala 2016: Manus x Machina and Red Carpet Looks”
They thought death was worth it, but I
Have a self to recover, a queen.
-Sylvia Plath, “Stings”
Even amidst the buzz surrounding the release of Adele’s 25 this month, I’m still caught up in two other albums released by major female artists this year. Florence and the Machine and Lana Del Rey both (like Adele) released their third major-label albums in 2015. Florence and the Machine’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and Del Rey’s Honeymoon each mark a sonic departure from the albums that preceded them. Beyond that, Florence Welch and Lana del Rey are two of my favorite female artists, and listening to these two albums on constant repeat—Florence’s since May, Lana’s since September—has led me to wonder what these two very different singer-songwriters have in common, and why both have a similarly dark, magnetic appeal for me (and, I suspect, many others). Placing their latest albums in the context of their work as a whole, I can see that part of what’s intriguing about both of these artists is their blurring of the lines between authenticity and performance, mythmaking and confession. Both perform femininity and embody it in ways alternately troubling and inspiring.
Lion Babe, a neo-soul duo made up of vocalist Jillian Hervey and musician Lucas Goodman, is a great jump-out-of-bed, shake-out-your-hair sound. Check out their song “Impossible,” which will hype you up for the rest of the week and maybe inspire you to do some glitter-flinging of your own.
One very great thing about crafting a “sonic zoo” of old-time Americana is the unpredictable ways that animal songs flit between hyper-realism, innuendo, religiosity, and symbology—so convoluted that you can’t even begin to pull the song apart. O what a tangled web we weave:
Miss Chief has one hell of a stage presence. She’s a tiny singing, dancing, cackling and tambourine-banging ringleader of misters (Daniel Aaron Flores on drums and Eddie Gonzalez on guitar) and a miss (Devyn Trujillo on bass)…Her current band has been playing together for a little more than a year, but Miss Chief has been precociously belting out tunes since she was two. It was then that she discovered the singer Selena. Her older sister later started an all-girl band called Tralala, an instrumental surf rock and jazz band. Miss Chief wanted to emulate these women, and the rest is history.
Today our L.A. correspondent B.C. brings us a profile on one of her favorite new artists, Miss Chief! Show her some love and check out her video and interview below.
B.C. : Miss Chief has one hell of a stage presence. She’s a tiny singing, dancing, cackling and tambourine-banging ringleader of misters (Daniel Aaron Flores on drums and Eddie Gonzalez on guitar) and a miss (Devyn Trujillo on bass). She may be on the petite side, but illuminates the stage with her big personality and energy. Her current band has been playing together for a little more than a year, but Miss Chief has been precociously belting out tunes since she was two. It was then that she discovered the singer Selena. Her older sister later started an all-girl band called Tralala, an instrumental surf rock and jazz band. Miss Chief wanted to emulate these women, and the rest is history.
Describe Miss Chief’s sound:
My band and I all bring our own individual tastes and musical skills when it comes to the songs we create. I have always liked the term ‘Garage Pop’ when describing the Miss Chief sound — a combination of Garage Rock n’ Roll with an unapologetic Pop aesthetic. The sound we developed has our own twist to it, with a diverse range of influences like Dick Dale, David Bowie, No Doubt, Amy Winehouse and more. We try to make music that moves people, whether it’s making them softly sway or full on get down.
What female artists have inspired you?
My major female influences are artists like Donna Summer, Selena, Diana Ross and Beyoncé, who are all powerhouse vocalists and stunning performers. Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Astrud Gilberto are some of the most unique singers I’ve ever heard — they encompass their emotion so well that I feel it when I hear them sing. I’m also a big Fiona Apple fan. Her music influenced my lyrical writing; she showed me how to bring a poetic aspect to music. And there are more recent misses I’m loving like The Summer Twins, La Luz and Kali Uchis.
Does your music have any feminist themes?
With influences like Le Tigre, Karen O and Fiona Apple, I do mix in some feminist themes when I can. The song “Don’t Make Me” is about an older dude taking advantage of a young girl he never should have messed with in the first place. I love that song because we wanted it to be an anthem for girls to get mad and stand up for themselves — to not be a victim. I can’t help but write with a female perspective, but I try to do so in an honest and empowering way that [we can] hopefully pass on to our audience.
What do you generally sing about?
The songs usually stem from my own personal experiences, so sometimes it feels like I’m time-traveling when I sing. They range from being about ex-bosses, high school crushes, Cat Woman, escaping reality when intoxicated and more.
How are you influenced by DIY-culture?
My drummer Daniel is the founder of Still Life Press, where all of our merchandise has been made DIY. Between Daniel and I, not only do we make our own merch, but we also have booked, coordinated and decorated our own shows.
Miss Chief is based in the Inland Empire of SoCal. She’s currently finishing up a four-song EP, which will be released before the summer hits. She is hoping to play more shows up the coast this summer, so stay tuned! You can find her on Bandcamp and Tumblr here: